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Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Season's Greetings from the Geekomancer's desk, everyone! 

Now, I know this season is not always holly-jolly for everyone, sometimes thanks to religious issues or philosophical differences, sometimes due to more practical or emotional concerns.  That's why I thought it might be helpful to show you how this pop culture witch celebrates the Winter Solstice, in hopes that it will assist you in finding new and innovative ways to deal with this, the most (expletive) time of the year.

As some of you may know, I am a former Grinch/Scrooge/whatever.  I used to have a very hard time with the holidays, and only by the grace of a very persistent friend with diabolical cookie powers am I able to now enjoy the Holiday Spirit without flinching.  That being said, I'm still a very non-standard pagan, and my witchcraft is unorthodox even to other witches.  So, it took me quite a while to find (really, build from semi-scratch) a way for me to relate to and celebrate the season.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Literacy of Magic Pt 2

In my previous post, I explained how literacy is an institution, and how a literacy of magic would be an extension of the institution of literacy, in the sense that a given institution typically determines who is or isn't included in the institution and also establishes what constitutes institutional legitimate actions vs actions which don't fit into the institution. I explored why I felt literacy is a loaded term and why it can be problematic to apply it as a concept to magic. I also explored how trying to define magic as a literacy would inevitably end up excluding certain people or practices because of the institutional aspects of literacy. In the 2nd post to this series, I'm going to explain why the literacy of magic isn't the same as the practice of magic and why it is more useful to examine magic as a practice instead of as a literacy.

Literacy, as it applies to magic, would seem to deal with the ability to read, write, and design magic, which could include among other things the ability to read, write, and design rituals, spells, and other associated magical activities. However, once again we are left with a question: Who determines what the literacy of magic is, and what is their agenda for defining it in the way they have? An additional question that is useful to ask is: "What activities, techniques, etc., are left out of the literacy of magic?" I'd argue that a variety of activities, techniques, etc., are left out if we look at magic as a form of literacy. Now some people might argue that I'm being overly literal by exploring magic as a form of literacy and perceiving it in terms of what are considered traditional activities of literacy, but I think that we need to be particular about the words that we use when trying to define a concepts such as magic or literacy. When we conflate these two concepts together without being particular, what results is a lot of theoretical confusion and armchair arguments that do little to substantively advance the discipline of magic.

Thus I don't think it's useful to define magic as a literacy. If anything, I find literacy to be too confining and limiting in terms of describing what magic seems to be or what one can possibly do with it. At best a literacy of magic can describe certain activities and how those activities are performed, but even in that case the above questions should be asked.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Henry Buchy
    Henry Buchy says #
    I didn't get the idea that Ivo intended to define magic as a "literacy" and not a practice. What he did do is draw an analogy usin
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Hello Henry, At this point i'm not really Ivo's article anymore, but just taking this into my direction. His article was a good p

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Institutions

As a product of the counterculture, I tend to mistrust and avoid institutions.  I suspect this is a common attitude among “first generation”[1] NeoPagans in the U.S.  We found existing institutions, be they religious, educational, or governmental, to be oppressive, unfulfilling, and irrelevant to the conditions of the world in which we found ourselves.

Let’s face it: established religions such as Christianity in its many forms, were created and gained ascendency in other times and places.  There was no threat of nuclear annihilation, no looming environmental degradation, no water shortage, no organ transplants, no vaccinations against such diseases as smallpox and polio.  Those religions addressed the concerns of the peoples in other times and places.  Further, few of these religious institutions adapted to changing circumstances.  Nowadays some are trying to be more relevant, often by adopting practices, such as involving lay people in their rituals and dancing during worship. 

In the years since Paganism has become visible, particularly in academia and interfaith, we have gained credibility in the wider world, and although we remain a religious minority,[2] we have not done much in the way of establishing lasting institutions.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Marissa  Bomgardner
    Marissa Bomgardner says #
    Are the inmates allowed the fake tealight candles that are battery operated? That's what my group used on the carrier (USS John C
  • Samuel Wagar
    Samuel Wagar says #
    I believe that people vote with their wallets. They vote to buy Pagan bling and to go to short-term Pagan communities / festivals
  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    Institutions are important and Pagans need to raise their collective "self-esteem" and step out into the world holding their heads

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Not too long ago, I worked a booth at a local anime convention, where we sold magically useful things for people who practice geekomancy.  I also read cards and dice from my various geek-centric magical traditions, and actually did really well.  I could wish every gig was that successful (although really I've had pretty great luck with events, to be honest).

Anyway, I was chatting with a friend of mine about it, and he brought up a question that I think he'd been meaning to ask me for a while.  We've been friends for a long time, studied quite a bit in the same vein, and he never really "got it."

The geekomancy, that is.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    I'm a big time geek (heck my company makes video games) and I have thought about the idea of getting more geek in my magic. Now .
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    All the reasons you mentioned are true for me as well.
  • S. Rune Emerson
    S. Rune Emerson says #
    Awesome!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Meditations on Hávamál, 35-39

35.
Ganga skal,
skal-a gestr vera
ey í einum stað;
ljúfr verðr leiðr,
ef lengi sitr
annars fletjum á.

Go shall the guest
and not stay long in one place;
the loved one becomes loathed
if he sits too long

on another's bench.

The important thing about hospitality -- that measure of a man or a woman and their home -- is the assumption that such largesse will not be taxed or taken for granted. Long visits were a big part of the wealthy in Iceland, but they had to be planned for and stocks set by. Unexpected guests were given good welcome, but part of the unspoken agreement is that a visitor would know when to move on.

36.
Bú er betra,
þótt lítit sé,
halr er heima hverr;
þótt tvær geitr eigi
ok taugreftan sal,
þat er þó betra en bæn.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Wendall Mountain Runner
    Wendall Mountain Runner says #
    Happy your more recent post led me read your backlog.
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    I'm delighted to hear it!
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Beautifully rendered. I believe that it's hospitality that is the common denominator in world religion and world culture.

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